How to Color Wood, Method 1

One of my favorite parts when working on a piece, is adding the finishing touch, usually a pop of color.  There are really three tried and true ways of adding color to a wood piece: painting, dying, and staining.   Both painting and staining are chemical mediums which contain pieces of pigment that sit on top of the wood.  Paint has large pieces of pigment, which, when applied generally totally obscure the wood grain, unless it is greatly thinned with a paint thinner such as mineral spirits.  Stain is also a medium that contains pieces of pigment, but smaller pieces of pigment which will not totally obscure the grain.  However, in both cases, paint and stain, the pigment is sitting on top of the wood, meaning with a bit of sanding it can be totally removed.  With dye though, a chemical reaction is occurring between the dye and the fibers of the wood, completely altering the color of the top layer of the wood.

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Wood & Resin Coffee Table

Late summer/early fall of last year (2017) I was looking for a project where I could start with a funky liveedge wood slab and incorporate some resin.  I had received some interest after showing off another table I had created a few months prior at an art festival. That table was a small liveedge hard maple slab filled with resin and glow-in-the-dark powder and completed with hairpin legs.  I struggled to find a piece as unique as that one.  Eventually I found a hard maple slab at a saw mill with characteristics that lent it to have areas filled with resin. So, I set on the path of making a coffee table.

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Carving a Set of Bar Stool Seats from Cedar

A good portion of my work is either customized or commissioned work.  Today’s project has such an origin.  I have made a few sets of bar stools with carved cedar wood seats that are dyed a variety of colors.  So far, I have done darker tones such as red and maroon. These stools have been on display at a local Interior Designers store front, Luxe Interiors in Coralville, Iowa.  It is through a client of the interior designer that I received an order for three carved cedar wood bar stools, dyed green.

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Carving a Display & Serving Tray from a Walnut Slab

About a month ago I had the opportunity to meet with another Iowa maker who lives in Ankeny.  Randy with Metal Wood Creations and I met through Instagram and quickly started growing a friendship over our shared love of making and experimenting with different materials and making techniques.  So, when I was planning a trip to the area to meet with some local stores and galleries about displaying my pieces, I knew I needed to take advantage and arrange a tour of Randy’s home shop.  I greatly enjoyed spending the afternoon with Randy and seeing his metal and woodshop.  He was so generous and not only gifted me a MIG welder, but he also gifted me several smaller slabs of walnut and pecan wood.  Since then I have been eyeing them in the corner of my shop trying to decide just want to make with them. 

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From Tree to Chair: Building a Rocker with Anne of All Trades

You may or may not know about Anne of all Trades.  Six years ago she started spending as much time as she could learning to work with her hands.  As her skills evolved and her community grew, she was able to build a life and career that she loves.  She has become "Anne of All Trades" with the goal of gaining and sharing knowledge and living as an example to empower and inspire her peers to get outside, to take risks, to pick up tools and explore their own creativity.

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Wood Wine Bar

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This is a fantastic question for one little redwood slab.  This story starts with a parcel of land along the central coast of California that was owned by a family who lived in Southern California where a redwood tree had fallen.  Though the exact cause for the redwood tree’s demise was not known, it was stated by the U.S. Forest Service that when high intensity winds occur along the coastal Redwood Forest during the wettest part of the year, soils are wet and root failure is most likely the culprit.  So, it is fair to speculate that the redwood tree in question was most likely knocked down by a mighty gust of wind.  The family who owned the land never harvested any living redwood trees. However, if a tree fell on its own they would use a portable sawmill to slab out the redwood and transport it back to Southern California to sell it to woodworkers.

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